Alice Lloyd College is named for its founder, Alice Spencer Geddes Lloyd, who came to the Eastern Kentucky Mountains from her native home in Boston. Early in her career, she was a writer for local newspapers and periodicals. In 1902, Miss Geddes was publisher and editor of The Cambridge Press, the first publication in America with an all-female staff.
Eastern Kentucky was sorely lacking in educational opportunities when Alice Lloyd arrived at Ivis, Kentucky, in 1916. She saw the need for regional uplift and felt that through education, the Appalachian people could have a brighter future. Armed with an invitation from a local resident, she came to Pippa Passes to teach the children. Mrs. Lloyd knew that she was among some of the brightest and best students that could be found anywhere. To ensure that no student would be turned away because of financial difficulty, she instituted a mandatory student work program. Mrs. Lloyd secured the success of her mission through generous financial support of her friends on the east coast, voluntary teachers, and “faith as firm as a rock and aspirations as high as the mountains.”
Mrs. Lloyd’s initial efforts at the Ivis Community Center in Knott County, Kentucky, were to provide health care, educational services, and agricultural improvements to the region. In 1917, Mrs. Lloyd, accompanied by her mother, moved to Caney Creek at the behest of local resident Abisha Johnson, who offered her land on which to build a school.
Alice Lloyd’s dictum, “The leaders are here,” became the inspirational impetus for what is now Alice Lloyd College. She was joined three years later by June Buchanan, a native of Syracuse, New York. Sharing Alice Lloyd’s mission, Miss Buchanan served the College until her death in 1988 at the age of 100. Together, Alice Lloyd and June Buchanan chartered Caney Junior College in 1923.
Following the death of Mrs. Lloyd in 1962, William Hayes became president and served until 1977. Under his leadership, the College launched a capital improvement campaign, which included construction of a water-treatment facility, three student residence halls, an administrative office building, a science building, and an athletic facility.
Jerry C. Davis was appointed president in 1977. His eleven-year tenure was marked by the creation of an accredited four-year, liberal arts college; the founding of The June Buchanan School (grades K-12); the expansion of a number of campus facilities, including a new library, classrooms, and a performing arts center; and the augmentation of campus programs, student enrollment, and institutional endowment. Since the College became a four-year institution in 1982, hundreds of students have earned baccalaureate degrees, and many alumni have completed graduate and professional programs at little or no personal cost through the continued support from Alice Lloyd College. Many of these graduates have returned to the mountains as teachers, physicians, attorneys, and other leaders of their communities.
In 1988, M. Fred Mullinax was named president. Campus expansion continued under President Mullinax’s direction with the construction of two student residence halls and a student center, enhancement of faculty salaries and benefits, recruitment of high-achieving students, and enrichment of the College’s endowment.
Timothy T. Siebert assumed the presidency in September 1995. He came to the College with a thorough understanding of the college enterprise and with seven years’ experience in development work. Dr. Siebert left the College in December 1998 to return to his home state of Missouri.
Joseph Alan Stepp was named president in April 1999. He is the first native Appalachian to assume the president’s position at Alice Lloyd College. During President Stepp’s tenure, the endowment has increased from $12.2 million to $34.4 million (nearly 200%). In recent years, the College has been featured in national media such as U.S. News & World Report as the top college in America for graduating students with the least amount of debt and Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most financially fit colleges in America. Over the past fifteen years, Alice Lloyd College has spent roughly $20 million on numerous major construction/renovation projects (not counting various other improvements) and technology upgrades. Some of these projects include restoration of two historic buildings, Cushing Hall and the Commodore Slone Building, renovation of men’s and women’s dormitories, major renovations to the Caney Cottage dormitory in Lexington, Kentucky, renovation of the McGaw Library and construction of a Center for Entrepreneurship and Collaborative Learning, and the expansion of recreational and athletic facilities. President Stepp has also overseen the expansion of our business program to include majors in entrepreneurship and accounting, a minor in entrepreneurship and core concentrations in management, e-marketing, leadership, finance, healthcare administration, e-commerce, and management information systems, and has added majors in kinesiology, sociology, special education and a dual-degree in nursing. Through all of this, the College remains debt-free.
The community of Pippa Passes derives its name from the verse drama Pippa Passes, written by the British poet Robert Browning. The character of Pippa is a little girl who works in the sweat shops of Italy in the mid-19th Century. On her only holiday of the year, she “passes” through the villages of her countryside, singing the now popular refrain:
The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn:
God’s in his heaven–
All’s right with the world!
Through her song, Pippa inspires troubled lives toward good purposes. The poem reflects “the influence of unconscious good on the world.” Service to the community follows this philosophy as it seeks to expand the scope of the total learning experience. The College maintains, as in the early days, that the purpose of an education is world service; therefore, the College continues to seek avenues of service for staff, faculty, and students. The College offers experiences in and out of the classroom so that learning may become balanced and healthy. Human growth may proceed in all directions, like an expanding sphere rather than a straight line. It is for this reason that the education of an Alice Lloyd College student takes into consideration “all the dimensions of human life which truly matter, and which left unattended lead to a fragmented and absurd existence.”*
*Ferrucci, Piero. What We May Be. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1982.